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Bolting Moratorium in NCNP

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whatever is used, chains or ring stations, is far better than tat. experience and professional biologists advice in the Bugaboos led BC Parks to remove all tat stations in favor of fixed chains.


sounds like BC Parks are actually managed by reasonable, thinking people using sound policy decisions - our NCNP rangers should learn something from them.


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i shouldn't say BC Parks removed all the tat stations. Just on the heavily used rap routes. you can still find the odd webbing station for getting off obscure routes on rarely-visited spires

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WCC, AF, and AAC are compiling a response to the recent letter expressing the moratorium on installation of new fixed anchor bolts in NCNP Wilderness (99% of the Park). Also to clarify, the steel fixed anchors removed by NPS were outside of the gully, looker's left. AAC is further looking into the details of the recent accident as well.



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Repetitive: but the Tyrol declaration was agreed in 2002, if I remember right there were some big climbing cheeses there: a Bonnington maybe, plus a Scott...I can't find the details. But it defines the fundamental principles in mountain sports.

..and it says don't mess with the gear unless we all want it messed with, and the 1st ascensionists agree.

Authority or not. Chopping anchors is irresponsible if they are expected to be there - as in 'historically present'

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Just want to see if there are any updates to the various questions / issues / investigations mentioned in this thread.

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Been waiting for the shut-down to end to receive follow up answers from NOCA:



Thank you for the reply. Is there a form of documentation that the NPS follows when removing anchor bolts? Is the public notified that the safety anchors that they may be expecting to use have been removed by the NPS? Is there a process to ensure that the bolts removed by the NPS were in fact placed after the moratorium? Was climber safety discussed before these bolts were removed, or was the primary goal to comply with a law? Where were these bolts in relation to the climber who recently fell on Forbidden Peak?



Thanks for your very specific and thoughtful questions. I am going to forward this to the head of our climbing rangers in order to get the most accurate response.


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Does NCNP have a public climbing management plan available that would outline their answers to some of the great questions posed above


Any signs of life now that the government shutdown has ended?

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I've sent three e-mails since the end of the shut-down, and only today received notice that they will respond to me shortly

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Jeff Jackson at Rock & Ice wrote up an article that seems fairly balanced and relies heavily on this thread. Article


Who would have thought CC.com would be a bastion of "restrained rhetoric"?

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Thanks for the link Darin. Several organizations are following up directly with NCNP on this. Below is the text of a letter that was sent out last week by Joe Sambataro of the Access Fund:


November 14, 2013


Karen F. Taylor-Goodrich

Superintendent, North Cascades National Park

810 State Route 20

Sedro-Wooley, Washington 98284


RE: Director’s Order #41 and Fixed Anchors in North Cascades National Park Wilderness


Dear Superintendent Karen Taylor-Goodrich:



In response to your letter dated August 23, 2013 regarding climbing management in North

Cascades National Park (North Cascades), the undersigned organizations write to formally

request a follow-up meeting to discuss long-term solutions to the temporary moratorium on new

fixed anchors in the North Cascades Wilderness.



As issued in Director’s Order #41, “the occasional placement of a fixed anchor for belay, rappel,

or protection purposes does not necessarily impair the future enjoyment of wilderness or violate

the Wilderness Act.” Not only do fixed anchors fit within the long history of traditional

mountaineering and alpine climbing in the North Cascades, their limited use plays a critical role

in encouraging safe, environmentally-conscious recreational use. This last point has been

especially evident on Forbidden Peak this past year. A balanced approach to recreation

management ensures a sustainable future of conservation, local economic benefit, and

community support in the region.


Climbing Organizations


The Access Fund, American Alpine Club, American Mountain Guides Association, The

Mountaineers, and the Washington Climbers Coalition are national and Washington State-based

climbing advocacy organizations dedicated to climbing access, conservation, advancing the

climbing way of life, and advocating for American climbers. The climbing organizations have a

long history of working with the National Park Service, including extensive input on Director’s

Order #41, and dozens of Service-wide and unit-specific NPS management planning initiatives

and stewardship projects around the country including at North Cascades National Park.


Conservation Organizations


The Wilderness Society, Washington Wild, and Washington Trails Association work towards

protecting Washington’s wild lands and waters which provide recreational access, wildlife

habitat, healthy watersheds and a unique quality of life for current and future generations. Each

of these organizations has a long history in advocating for the designation and management of

Wilderness areas and Wild and Scenic Rivers in Washington State.


Together, these organizations can support efforts by the National Park Service to develop

appropriate wilderness climbing polices for North Cascades National Park, such as a revised

Wilderness management plan (with full public participation), a North Cascades climbing

management plan, or a case study on Forbidden Peak. This case study could include an

assessment of the application of the guidelines provided by Director’s Order #41 and a stand-alone

permit under the North Cascades compendium while a larger planning process is pursued.



Collectively, we recognize that this process must find an appropriate balance for managing North

Cascades’ unique wild lands. Both park managers and the climbing and broader conservation

community would benefit from finding common ground that meets the needs of recreational

users and the obligations of wilderness managers. In a time when resources are limited for the

National Park Service, we can provide critical support and expertise to address these important

management concerns.



Time is of the essence and we therefore respectfully request a meeting with you, the appropriate

North Cascades staff, and representatives of these organizations on one of the following dates:


 December 2, 2013

 December 6, 2013

 December 10, 2013


Please let us know what dates and times work at your earliest convenience.




Brady Robinson, Executive Director

Access Fund


Phil Powers, Executive Director

American Alpine Club


Betsy Winter, Executive Director

American Mountain Guides Association


Martinique Grigg, Executive Director

The Mountaineers


Matt Perkins, Officer

Washington Climbers Coalition


Karen Daubert, Executive Director

Washington Trails Association


Jim Hook, Executive Director

Washington Wild


Kitty Craig, North Cascades Program Manager

The Wilderness Society



Cc: The Honorable Patty Murray, United States Senate

The Honorable Maria Cantwell, United States Senate

The Honorable Suzan DelBene, United States House of Representatives

Chip Jenkins, Pacific West Region Deputy Regional Director, National Park Service

Kinsey Shilling, Chief Ranger, North Cascades National Park


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I would encourage folks (especially those not represented by the above organizations) to get in touch directly with the park superintendent at NCNP to make their views known.

Edited by JasonG

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Please make sure the public's voice is heard on this. Contact Ms. Bush and the NCNP and let them know your opinion on this (even if you don't agree on bolting in any form).


The policy of no bolting and allowing nests of slings is unacceptably dangerous and environmentally unfriendly. Bolted descent routes on popular North Cascade climbs is safer, and cause less visual and physical impact upon the wilderness area. This isn't the first or last time that the NCNP's policy of removing anchors (bolts and slings) has been linked to climber injury and/or death.


The NCNP is not only NOT listening to the public seriously; they won't listen constructively with persons or the AAC, Access Fund, etc.. They are NOT keeping up responsible climbing management plans with public input. And now they are NOT even listening to their own directors. NPS Director's Orders #41 clearly states the acceptance of using bolts and creating management plans with public input.


If you haven't seen it yet, this is now being written up by Rock and Ice in an editorial:



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That R&I piece is more than a bit inflammatory. It would be helpful if an accident analysis was published, because it doesn't seem like the accident was related to the missing bolts, contrary to the title of the article.

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Kelly Bush doesn't make the rules. This should be directed to the Super or Regional level, or the the pols.

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Any updates on the aforementioned attempts to communicate, or any news about a formal climbing plan for the NCNP?

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